Maelstrom

Video Photo Info
Existential angst permeated the paintings of many artists on both sides of the Atlantic in the post-war years. Members of the Abstract Expressionist School in New York, and their European Informalist counterparts, harnessed their inner turmoil and projected it onto the canvas with bold and emotionally-charged gestures. The performative act of painting highlighted process over results. The body interfaced with the messy materiality of paint, creating some of the most memorable artworks of the 20 th Century.

Maelstrom is a work of abstract expressionism, but instead of using brushes, a custom-made algorithm splatters paint-like forms on a screen. In lieu of paint, the abstract compositions are created with press photographs of the day. These images slide into the screenbefore dissolving into a dripping abstraction. Faces of political leaders melt before our eyes; national flags used in press conferences provide distinctive color hues to the composition; crowds in demonstrations also succumb to the eroding effect of the algorithm. The generative artwork conjures diverse art- historical references: Turner, Clyfford Still, Francis Bacon or Baselitz come to mind, as do many others key members of the Abstract Art family.

Maelstrom’s constantly mutating painting remains forever unfinished: the news of the moment covers the item that came just before. Layer after layer, the endless painting captures the ephemerality of news cycles, and of life itself. The artwork also evokes the dynamic gestures of abstract painters. Generative art shares many things with abstract expressionism, including a fascination with process, performativity and unpredictable results.

Just like mid-century painters responded to the trauma of the Second World War, Maelstrom captures the emotional disquiet of our times. The unrest produced by the incessant bombardment of 24/7 news often leaves us numb and paralyzed. Maelstrom is the artist’s attempt to process our times with the unlikely merging of press photography, algorithms and the history of painting.